I was cleaning out my drawers, going through clothes I need to get rid of, when I came across a little bit of my own personal history: my Deo Fretus t-shirt. Now, Deo Fretus (in God we trust) was the motto of my high school and also the name of the quintet I was a member of for two glorious years. It’s hard to describe the profound sense of nostalgia I felt as I tenderly pulled the tatty t-shirt out of the drawer and regarded its moth-eaten holes.
Twelve years ago the shirt was screen printed by the more artistic kids in my cohort. I never got to know them very well, since I was more of the academic sort. I thoroughly regret that now, because I think they would have been interesting people to know.
It was presented to me, as I recall, by David Magner, in honour of my receiving the â€œculturalâ€ prize in my school. I was the first to ever receive the â€œculturalâ€ prize. I remember that at the time I tried hard not to be too proud, but I have to admit, I feel kind of proud now.
All these thoughts and more flood back whenever I see this worn-out piece of material. It’s why I kept the shirt so long when I usually try very hard not to be attached to things. Moving house a lot and moving countries in particular means that there are few things I can physically touch to invoke the memories of the past.
I agonised over what to do with the shirt for quite some time. After a glass of wine I decided to repair it myself (doing a surprisingly good job of it) and put it into a box frame.
It’s now a constant reminder to me of how valuable those moments from the past are, but also of how precious the present is. Now is the time you’re actually making memories for your future self. Don’t fritter away these moments thinking about the past, focus on accumulating meaningful, durable impressions of what you’re living right now. Store these treasures up and maybe even write your future self a letter, you owe you that much.